home           about           reviews           author insight           review policy

Monday, July 8, 2013

ALA Annual Conference Recap

It's been a few years since I've been to an American Library Association conference and attending Annual in Chicago reminded me why it's one of my favorite book events. Slower than BEA and filled with all manner of book-loving people, ALA is nothing short of amazing. I have no idea how I stayed away so long.

My bed in Chicago. :)
Fate took me to ALA this year. Yes, I'd entertained the possibility of going, but money was tight and it seemed a little far-fetched. That's until I asked my friend Sam about the possibility of staying with him. As luck had it, he was headed to Atlanta while ALA was going on in Chicago and offered me his keys in exchange for feeding his super-sweet cats, Abednego and Moo-Moo. With room and board taken care of, all I had to do was buy a plane ticket so you can bet I made it happen.

Stacey from Page Turners Blog picked me up at the airport on June 26, and we headed to Sam's
together. Upon arriving, on a scorching summer day, we made the devastating discovery that Sam's place did not have A/C. We went with him to Quarantino's for dinner and got some absolutely delicious family-style Italian food. We were fairly exhausted when we got home so I crawled into what would become my bed for the next seven nights. (I could have had an air mattress, but the recliner laid flat.)

On Thursday Stacey and I set out to find fans for the apartment. We found a local Salvation Army online and headed that way, convinced they had what we needed. Along the way we stopped at BIG & littles, which was featured on Food Network's Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives and had some yummy beer battered cheeseburgers.

Fried food in our bellies, we continued to the thrift store and found the box fan of our dreams. We also found the place where golf clubs go to die.

In anticipation of a weekend chock-full of exhibits, we crashed hard Thursday night. (Well, after I got Stacey addicted to Whale Wars.) The next day we had lunch with the lovely Kellie Celia from Walden Pond Press at Lou Malnati's. What's better than tasty Chicago-style pizza and bookish conversation?

Exhibits kicked off that evening and it was an absolute crush of bodies in McCormick Place. It was more of a madhouse then I've seen outside of BEA in a long time. Some of the most egregious behavior I've ever seen on a conference floor also happened Friday as attendees raided the Harlequin booth. The booth was bare  by the time I walked past it. Even the "Display Only" copies were missing.

Of course, there were authors abound over the weekend. I got to meet Jon Klassen, Hannah Moskowitz, and Tone Almhjell, ran into Brandon Mull, Ellen Hopkins, Elizabeth Scott and Shannon Messenger, and grabbed a quick breakfast with Geoff Herbach. I even got a healthy dose of New Adult during a panel featuring Shannon Stoker, Jennifer L. Armentrout, and Molly McAdams.

Shannon Stoker, Jennifer L. Armentrout, and Molly McAdams
Bloggers weren't in short supply either. There was Katie from Katie's Book Blog, Jen from Novel Thoughts and ARCycling, Lena from Addicted 2 Novels, Rachel from Rachel's Book Reviews and Kari from A Good Addiction.

And my goodness, the books! I picked up a few I am really excited to read, including Coldest Girl in Coldtown, Impossible Knife of Memory, Grasshopper Jungle, and The Paradox of Vertical Flight. They all sound fabulous.

By Sunday night we were due for more pizza and proper touristy excursions. Stacey and I met up with some friends, got Giordano's for dinner, and stopped by the Bean and Buckingham Fountain.

The Bean

Buckingham Fountain
I came home utterly exhausted and thrilled at the prospect of sleeping in my own bed. Aches and pains aside, it was a truly excellent trip, especially since it'll have to tide me over until next year. I'm already looking forward to next time.



  1. I haven't tried ALA yet. I've been to RT and BEA but not ALA. I only know one blogger friend who goes to it and that's Lena but I checked where 2014 summer conference is going to be and that's Las Vegas ;). I might just have to go if I can't make it to BEA next year.